Legalized Political Balkanization: Why is the Philippines Doomed to Failure
What makes the multi-party system dangerous to our lives, freedom and future is the fact that all existing political parties today do not have explicit political ideologies and principles.
The 1987 Constitution may have limited the evils of martial law and the rise of a potential dictatorship, but one of its
numerous fatal flaws is that it legalizes political ‘balkanization’ in the Philippines. What do I mean by the term political balkanization? In politics, some absurd provisions of the new charter encourage the formation of fly-by-night political parties and fragmented party-list groups for the special purpose of elections. Unknown to many, particularly well-meaning Filipinos and the Leftists, this system creates a very dangerous situation wherein competing political groups with undefined and ambiguous political platform, ideology, principles, and indeterminate political goals vie for crucial government positions.
Why is this situation dangerous? What makes the multi-party system dangerous to our lives, freedom and future is the fact that all existing political parties today do not have explicit political ideologies and principles. Their system of selection of standard-bearers or political frontrunners is mainly based on personality. This shows that Philippine politics is mainly characterized by personalities who rely on vague generalities, do-goodism and open-ended platforms and principles. What we have in this country is what should be identified as ‘smorgasbord politics,’ wherein all political parties are not guided by clear-cut political philosophy, agenda and principles, but by pragmatism and personal or collectivized propaganda. This is the reason why most politicians behave like mafia gangsters who gang up on each other during selection process to determine who would represent their party. The gory result is this— the guy who has more friends or smiles a lot, or who got the blessing of a power-maker, or who is ready to sign a ‘blank check’ for political largesse, is likely to win the selection process.
Political parties today are like traffic lights. They change color from time to time—according to political expediency, events and people’s state of emotion.
Another reason is the fact that the multi-party system mainly leads to confusion on the part of the voters. Since political parties are personality-based and do not embody genuine political ideals and platforms, the people will simply vote for personalities rather than consider rational principles and ideologies. This system is also dangerous psychologically on the part of young voters, because it pushes them to take crucial issues on faith— in that they would simply believe that the system is right because the law says so.
Political parties today are like traffic lights. They change color from time to time—according to political expediency, events and people’s state of emotion. When an incumbent administration is culpable of political blunders or is plagued with irregularities and corruption scandals, expect two or so opportunist parties to capitalize on public outrage and try to gain people’s sympathy and support. All parties today stand for nothing. Their ideology or principle is blank out. Likewise, the politicians who run and represent these shady political parties do not have any philosophy or ideology at all. They are simply political pragmatists.
On the other hand, the party-list system reflects the socialist tendencies of the new charter. This social party system is a new creature of the 1987 constitution, the purpose of which is to encourage various social groups to fight for their causes in Congress. Sectors that are allowed by law to form political groups include labor, peasant, fisherfolk, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, elderly, handicapped, women, youth, veterans, overseas workers, and professionals.
During the last elections, a party-list group representing the youth sector ran for Congress but lost. I am not in favor of any social groups or sectors seeking government positions just to fight for their social causes or agenda. We are now witnessing some of the horrible effects of both the multi-party and party-list systems. The framers of the New Constitution did not intend to politically balkanize the nation, but their credulous judgment only confirms this old adage—“the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
A government is created for the protection of individual rights and not for the distribution of favors and wealth…
I do not believe that the youth must be represented in Congress. Likewise, I disagree that sectors like women’s group, peasants, laborers, overseas workers, and professionals need a seat in the Lower House to fight for the interests and welfare of their members. I believe that the proper function of the legislature is to promulgate and enact laws for the protection of individual rights, and I disagree with the contention that party-list representatives have the responsibility to look after the welfare and sponsor the interests of their sectoral members. What we have today in Congress is legalized political balkanization wherein the standard of value is bizarre collective welfare.
In a free society run by rational statesmen, the only standard of value is the individual. No one has the right to corner or collect government favors and no one must be deprived of his right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness. If one group takes government favors, such an act is tantamount to the deprivation of the rights of other groups. It is not proper for a government to distribute largesse or goods to privileged groups just because they have the number, or to minority groups just because they are discriminated, weak or ignored.
Just imagine if these sectoral groups and parties in Congress regularly vied for government favors and blessings. While their actions and decisions are paved with good intentions, most of them failed to realize the evil of their altruistic scheme. Those favors must necessarily come from a particular source of wealth— the taxpayers. The more favors, subsidies, welfare state programs and altruistic projects these party-list groups and political parties lobby, the higher the amount of taxes the taxpayers will pay. Worse, if the taxpayers’ money is not enough to cover these welfare state programs of elected lobbyists, the government will certainly be obliged to borrow money from foreign creditors at high interests.
Again, a government is created for the protection of individual rights and not for the distribution of favors and wealth. Every individual has the capacity to live, survive and improve his/her economic status in life, and it is not the main function of a state to provide for the basic needs of those who are unable to work. This is to say that the power and authority of a government must be limited by law. And the only economic system that is consistent with this ideal is capitalism.